The Laughing in Taffeta Birthday Dress


For my birthday this year, I wanted something insane.

I like to get what I want.


I paired this Oscar de la Renta Silk Taffeta (sold out, but peep these Oscar silks) with Magenta Dotted Organza (don’t be fooled by the picture, it’s magenta for sure!), meaning to use the organza as a crinoline… but, well, plans (as usual) changed once I stared the yardage in the face.


I also paired up patterns: Cynthia Rowley 1802 and Simplicity 0320, heavily modified to get the look I wanted at the shoulder and back.


One could almost say ham handedly modified.  I definitely over-handled those seams! Did I muslin? No. I used the “seam rip, stitch, repeat” method. You can see the silk was getting a little vexed with this decision on the front bodice. And either the dress is too tight in the back, or the just-off-the-shoulder-look meant I needed boning.

It fits comfortably enough for an evening of pizza though, so I’m not complaining!


Yes, I wore this out to birthday pizza, and felt splendidly overdressed.  My thought was, I could always dissect the magenta away if I wanted a less costume-y party dress. But I literally cackle every time I look down at this combo, so I do believe they’ll be mates for some time…

oonaballoona mood fabrics oscar de la renta

Have you ever heard taffeta move? Such a delicious rustle! It’s like a slightly hollered whisper, egging you on to shake and shimmy and sway…


I’ll have some interior & close up shots coming up on my blog. There’s neon coral lining and invisible zip and tiny bows to see, oh my. The photographer, he is not so into the details, he’s a big picture kinda guy. But I do like his eye. Both of them, actually.

This one was a joy to make, and that’s exactly what I wanted for my birthday dress..FUN!

What’s the last thing you sewed purely for fun?



  • MB@YarnUiPhoneApp
    August 18, 2014

    Such a beautiful use of two floral prints…heck, I’d eat pizza in that dress as long as tomato sauce doesn’t want to mate with Oscar De La Renta fabric.

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      i did consider that… we got one white pizza to even out the odds 🙂

  • Lauren
    August 18, 2014

    THIS JUST MAKES ME EXTRA SAD THAT I MISSED OUT ON YOU THIS WEEKEND:( girl, GIRL, you look amazing and radiant and that is one heck of a spectacular dress. You are killing it!

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      i know girl. i know. about the missing, i mean. DRAT AND DOUBLE DRAT.

  • Ann T.
    August 18, 2014

    Your fabric combo is daring and artful. I love it, and you look adorable in it. Happy Birthday!.

  • Ginger
    August 18, 2014

    Holy crow, what a dress! Love the fabric pairing!!!

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      the switch up from cow to crow is delicious. WINTER IS COMING.

  • Debbie Iles
    August 18, 2014

    I have to say that I am a big fan of ham handed modifications. I absolutely love this dress! You’ve done Mr de la Renta proud! I especially love those shoulder straps with those teeny tiny bows. I hope you got some good skirt swishing in after the pizza 😉

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      thankya debbie!! i did swish 🙂

  • True Bias
    August 18, 2014

    oh oona, seriously one of the most gorgeous dresses ever. pink and red have always been a fav color combo for me. love this so much!

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      and y’know, if it were valentine’s day i’d be mad at myself!! oooh….maybe that’s when i’ll do the organza surgery…

  • Lori
    August 18, 2014

    Fabulous birthday dress, I love what you did with the two fabrics. I love the sound of taffeta, it sounds so rich.

  • Nicki
    August 18, 2014

    This is insanely gorgeous Oona! You make me want to wear clothes llike this everyday!

  • The Nerdy Seamstress
    August 18, 2014

    OMG! I love this dress! I love the tiny, tiny bows on your shoulder. AND, the fabric is Oscar de la Renta? Swoon! I think you did a fantastic job! Happy belated birthday!

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      thank you!! those bows were a puzzle till a lightbulb went off!

  • Cheryl
    August 18, 2014

    This dress is a party in itself. It looks good enough to eat. It sounds like music . And makes you feel like dancing.

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      i wanna dance the niiiiiiight away!

  • Cennetta
    August 18, 2014

    OUTSTANDING! Over the top dress for Birthday pizza? Splendid! You ROCK, girl. Love the playfulness of the style and color. Rustling! I hear it. 🙂

  • Peter
    August 18, 2014

    This is really lovely — so swishy and glam. Love the fabric and the way you’ve used it!

  • Jessie
    August 18, 2014

    Stunning Oona! I have some taffeta left-overs at home, you’ve given me a hankering for a swishy swooshy dress!

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      oooo i hope you have enough, a girl needs a taffetta dress…

  • Sewcial Warrior
    August 19, 2014

    As usual, a stunning dress. I adore the magenta with the taffeta!!! Beautiful. Belated happy birthday wishes too.

    • oonaballoona
      August 19, 2014

      thank you! my birthday lasts all month, so you’re right on time 🙂

  • Sallie
    August 19, 2014

    Now THAT’S a party dress!!! Love it!! Perfect “it’s my party and I’ll eat pizza if I want to” frock! Love the mash up of the two patterns and the two fabrics, and the teensy bows and off the shoulder look. Happy Birthday, you gorgeous thing, you!

  • Theresa
    August 20, 2014

    Insane? No! Insanely cute! I love this dress!

    Happy birthday!

  • DebB
    August 20, 2014

    Great colors! Great combo! Those teeny shoulder bows are adorable. You can be nothing but happy, happy, happy (birthday!) in that dress! You are a brave (or crazy) woman to eat pizza in such a lovely frock. It would be a disaster in my hands. Party on!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    August 25, 2014

    Happy Happy Birthday and you must have had a blast in that dress. It’s s show stopper!

  • Fiona
    August 30, 2014

    Wow! No matter how you did it that neckline is gorgeous, love the tiny little bows on the shoulders. It’s a style that could go to twee but in this stunning silk print it’s definitely not! Looking forward to checking out the detailed pics now!

  • LolaV
    September 2, 2014

    Lovely dress! You look gorgeous. I know the sound of taffeta and love it too!

  • Ladibugg
    September 10, 2014

    Oona, This dress, a work of Art! Absolutely stunning and vibrant combination! Should b sold in stores!
    Overdressed? Never!!! I say wear whatever to whereever if it’s how u feel! U look amazing!
    Excellent talent…magnificent job!

  • Goodbye Valentino
    September 13, 2014

    You smart thing! I love what you did with this fabric. The organza was genius!